Introduction of 5G, expansion of Home Internet, upgrades in the fiber network, in-building enhancements and transformation of the network core have led to customers having a better experience on Verizon’s network.
NEW YORK – Verizon has recently undergone a major multi-year transformation of its network architecture to provide customers with more capabilities, upgrade the technology in the network, pave the way for personalized customer experiences and provide a platform for enterprises and developers to drive innovation. While this massive undertaking is not over, the results have been unmistakable, with customers using the network in more places in more ways and having a better experience on the Verizon network.
“It’s been a tremendously dynamic and exciting few years for our network, introducing 5G to the market, redesigning the network core functions, accelerating our fiber build and introducing a host of advanced technologies to improve our customers’ experience with us,” said Joe Russo, EVP and CEO of Global Network and Technology. “These changes mean more people can do more things in more places more reliably, and that’s what we’re all about as a company.”
A massive, multi-year network transformation
Major upgrades to Verizon’s network over the past few years include:
- Introducing 5G service to more than 230 million people, accelerating C-band spectrum deployment and strategically using premium mmWave spectrum to serve customers in high 5G usage areas.
- Expanding 5G Fixed Wireless Access Internet availability to cover more than 40 million households.
- Accelerating the fiber build plan, deploying nearly 57k fiber miles since 2020 and now connecting over 51% of its cell sites with its own fiber.
- Upgrading 76% of pro sports venues with 5G Ultra Wideband service to provide greater coverage and exponentially more capacity in major gathering and event spaces to better support high data traffic.
- Redesigning the core of the network to function in a cloud-native environment and introducing advanced technologies such as virtualization, automation and orchestration throughout the network. Introducing virtualization (throughout the core and in over 15,000 cell sites), re-architecting to a Kubernetes-based cloud-native platform, and integrating extensive automation and orchestration have been largely invisible to customers, but those changes are making a world of difference. Not only is Verizon able to make changes that benefit customers faster (like introducing new security measures, improving handoffs between cell sites, improving latency, and reducing call drops) but it can now implement those enhancements without taking the network offline, so customers are getting the benefits with zero down time.
These significant changes to the network exponentially increased capacity and performance, created a scalable platform to manage the increase in usage, increased network efficiency, improved security and reliability for customers, and created the platform for exponential growth the company is now seeing.
Customer experience and habits have changed
The massive speed and capacity increases resulting from recent network changes have encouraged customers to use more data and do more in more places than ever before. A year after the launch of 5G, about 24% of Verizon customers were on 5G devices. Today, more than 68% of customers have 5G capable cell phones and they are using exponentially more data. At present, 5G traffic using C-band spectrum makes up more than 38% of the total data on the network, up from over 14% one year ago. As 5G data usage increases, there is a correlated decrease of data volume on the 4G network with customers currently using just over 56% compared to a year ago when nearly 81% of data traffic ran over 4G service. This shift results in all customers having a better experience – 5G customers are experiencing the speed and massive capacity of 5G, while 4G customers are seeing increases in performance because so much traffic is shifting onto the 5G network freeing up capacity on the 4G network.
Not only are customers using the network more, they are using it differently. Home Internet, Business Internet and Private Networks have altered how, when and where customers access the network. Verizon sees a steady pace of approximately 400,000 net adds for Home Internet each quarter, a majority of which are fixed wireless access (FWA). As of August, over 2.5 million consumer and business customers are using Verizon’s FWA service with each using just over 300 GB of data per month. Private networks are gaining momentum as well with solutions like the Cleveland Clinic and the NFL’s Coach-to-Coach coming online in all 30 NFL stadiums.
While customers are using more data and using it differently, the massive network upgrades have enabled customers to have a markedly better experience than ever before. Customers can do things faster, with Ookla showing median 5G download speeds increasing 98.45% since January of 2021* and RootMetrics showing download speeds increasing more than 176% since the second half of 2021 in the top 125 metros tested.** And in rigorous scientific network tests, RootMetrics concluded that Verizon’s network is undefeated in 96.8% of the metro drive tests (121 out of 125 markets) they performed in the first half of 2023.***
*Based on analysis by Verizon of Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® data for median 5G download speeds, U.S., Q1 2021 vs. Q2 2023. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission.
** Based on analysis by Verizon of RootMetrics® U.S. State of 5G Report for top 125 metro markets: 2H 2021 vs. 1H 2023. Tested with best commercially available smartphones on 3 national mobile networks across all available network types. Your experiences may vary. The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of Verizon.
*** Rankings based on the RootMetrics® metro RootScore® Reports for 125 metro areas 1H23: Tested with best commercially available smartphones on three mobile networks across all available network types. Your experiences may vary. The RootMetrics award is not an endorsement of Verizon.